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Judging Others: do you do it?

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Old 04-14-2013, 10:36 PM   #1
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Default Judging Others: do you do it?

I can't tell you how many times I've heard versions of the following statement: "you shouldn't feel self-conscious at the gym if you're overweight, because everyone else is too busy focusing on their workout to notice or care." Ditto for eating from the breadbasket at dinner if you're overweight, or wearing a tight, brightly colored skirt, or anything else that draws negative attention to you as a larger-than-average human.

I'm here to say, you're not just paranoid. It's not just in your head. People really are that shallow, myself included, and make comparisons and pass judgement all the time. I'm not proud of it, it's not something I do on purpose, and whenever I have one of my "oh god she's fat" thoughts, I quickly tell myself off mentally for having passed judgement. BUT I DO IT ANYWAY. ALL THE F*CKING TIME. Today, heaven help me, I actually almost said something to a pair of overweight girls in the locker room of my gym, aged maybe 10-11, who were wearing bathing suits and eating ice cream sandwiches (I considered "should you be eating that in here?" instead of my initial gut reaction of "you so don't need those calories; why don't you throw them away?" but thankfully decided neither of these would be appropriate).

The fact is, most of us on this thread would rather lose an eye or a job than regain the weight we've worked so hard to lose (and keep off). If being fat didn't disgust us, we wouldn't have been motivated to lose our weight to begin with. We spend our days working hard to prevent regain, and live in fear of the scale (or our skinny jeans) telling us that we've gained even a few pounds. So, how hypocritical would it be if we DIDN'T feel disgust (or pity) at others who are overweight? Pass judgement when others can't manage what we have? Feel real fear when we see someone who's the shape we used to be, knowing how easy it would be to return there?

I'm expressing all of this because I've really been struggling with these feelings the last couple of months. I'm not proud of it but I also don't see a way to stop thinking like that. What do you do? If you've found ways to think less judgmentally, please share.
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:27 AM   #2
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I think it's only human nature to judge others and compare them to ourselves. At the moment, my reoccurring judgement is 'if I can do it, then why can't you?' When it comes to children, I think 'How can parents do this to their kids?'.

You are right in that it is bad thinking, but I also think that it helps to keep perspective with what I'm trying to achieve and the future health problems I'm trying to avoid. I can't tell you that you'll ever stop thinking it or whether I think it's unhealthy to be thinking these things. I do think it is unhealthy to say my judgements out loud, which is what you realised too

What makes me lessen the judgements is to realise that not everyone has the ability to lose weight and I can't control the lives of others or force them to change because I know a better way. I know a better way for me, but I don't know what their life is like and what's caused them to eat junk and get fat.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:19 AM   #3
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I think it's only human nature to judge others and compare them to ourselves. At the moment, my reoccurring judgement is 'if I can do it, then why can't you?' When it comes to children, I think 'How can parents do this to their kids?'.

You are right in that it is bad thinking, but I also think that it helps to keep perspective with what I'm trying to achieve and the future health problems I'm trying to avoid. I can't tell you that you'll ever stop thinking it or whether I think it's unhealthy to be thinking these things. I do think it is unhealthy to say my judgements out loud, which is what you realised too

What makes me lessen the judgements is to realise that not everyone has the ability to lose weight and I can't control the lives of others or force them to change because I know a better way. I know a better way for me, but I don't know what their life is like and what's caused them to eat junk and get fat.
Years ago I first lost a lot of weight after some complete stranger yelled "fat *ss" at me from the back of a motorbike roaring past me on the street.

While I would never, ever say anthing to someone who is overweight I do make the same type of judgements as you said. But I know, from experience, how painful and humiliating any comments can be about a person's weight and/or body.

I would again restate that after thinking these types of things I make sure I keep my mouth shut.

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Old 04-15-2013, 07:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by neurodoc
The fact is, most of us on this thread would rather lose an eye or a job than regain the weight we've worked so hard to lose (and keep off).
And that's another reason why I don't post here much anymore. As someone who struggled hard after maintaining for about two years and ultimately lost the battle, I really feel angry when I see the kind of fat hatred you are expressing. Lose an eye or a job? Really? Think about that some more.

That doesn't mean I don't have those thoughts that you mentioned myself from time to time--society has worked really hard to teach us that point of view. I have them toward others and toward myself. "Wow, look how fat I am."

Thank goodness you didn't tell those little girls to throw away their food!

I think the danger is not in having judgments, but in thinking one's judgments are right and therefore one is better than "those other people." Even if people tell themselves they are thinking those thoughts out of "compassion," it's a twisted compassion that ultimately is based on being superior.

The antidote might be to consciously detach from those judgments. Watch them arise and let them go, without believing they are "true" or "right." And certainly, one shouldn't act on them in any way. In our culture, people who are fat know that they are fat--it hasn't escaped our notice.

In answer to your final question, it would not be hypocritical to give up judgments like that. You can want to be a healthy weight without hating others. (ETA: or yourself!)
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:06 AM   #5
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We all make thousands of judgements on a daily basis. Smell something does this smell Ok? Is it safe to eat?? On and on.

We all may deny it ...but making judgements keeps us alive and safe.

Now commenting on someone else is a Horse of a different color.
We can not help but notice things in our environment ...like wow that is a brightly colored car, that poor dog looks malnourished....and so on!

It is never acceptable to make cruel comments .....but unless you are blind you will notice and make note....that is the reality of it ....to deny the truth may make us feel better about ourselves but it is always there.
When I was fat ....no one ever came right out and called be fat to my face.....but they have no problem calling me skinny now! And people who are overweight will tell me I am too thin???? maybe good manners should go both ways!
My feelings would not have been hurt if someone told me I was fat ..lol my feelings are not hurt ..if you call me skinny..I would have to have a connection with someone to value their opinion...that's just me!
Sometimes we wear our insecurities on our sleeve, but whatever package is on the outside ....I believe the most important one is what is on the inside ....So don't judge a book by it's cover ...as the old saying goes....even though there could be tatters....it could be an Excellent read!

I am more concerned about the heart ....then the beautiful trappings on the outside...Roo2
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:24 AM   #6
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Just after I read this for the first time, I used a loo in a supermarket. Three cubicles. When I came out of my cubicle there was a girl putting on makeup and her friend, both about 14. The friend was in another cubicle, balancing on the loo itself so she could see herself full-length in the mirror. I looked at her and said, "Someone has to sit on that." "Yeah," said the girl. I continued to look at her. She said, "My shoes are clean." I continued to look. She got off. I left.

For me, that was a issue around abusing society and *public health*. I know we have a different health service here in the UK from the US. Perhaps thoughts about the public good come more rapidly to mind (or maybe it's the work I do) but I tend to think this kind of thought when I see someone who is very fat or is eating what I think of as poisonous food. Sometimes I feel a rush of tenderness and fellow-feeling towards the individual, briefly wondering what their story is and how they have become so fat.

Quote:
most of us on this thread would rather lose an eye or a job than regain the weight we've worked so hard to lose (and keep off)
I don't feel like that. That's really not at the heart of who I am or what I do. And perhaps that's why I, too, don't post here much.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:33 AM   #7
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Silver. I am sp glad to hear from you. I miss your remarks. please come back. Your comments are valuable.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayEll View Post
And that's another reason why I don't post here much anymore. As someone who struggled hard after maintaining for about two years and ultimately lost the battle, I really feel angry when I see the kind of fat hatred you are expressing. Lose an eye or a job? Really? Think about that some more.

That doesn't mean I don't have those thoughts that you mentioned myself from time to time--society has worked really hard to teach us that point of view. I have them toward others and toward myself. "Wow, look how fat I am."

Thank goodness you didn't tell those little girls to throw away their food!

I think the danger is not in having judgments, but in thinking one's judgments are right and therefore one is better than "those other people." Even if people tell themselves they are thinking those thoughts out of "compassion," it's a twisted compassion that ultimately is based on being superior.

The antidote might be to consciously detach from those judgments. Watch them arise and let them go, without believing they are "true" or "right." And certainly, one shouldn't act on them in any way. In our culture, people who are fat know that they are fat--it hasn't escaped our notice.

In answer to your final question, it would not be hypocritical to give up judgments like that. You can want to be a healthy weight without hating others. (ETA: or yourself!)
JayELL, I like reading comments of other posters, whether I agree or disagree is not important. It always gives me something to think about. Please reconsider posting here, we learn from each other. If it wasn't for 3fc and comments of all kinds I would never have been able to maintain weight loss. I know because I never was able to do it before.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:10 AM   #9
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whenever I have one of my "oh god she's fat" thoughts, I quickly tell myself off mentally for having passed judgement. BUT I DO IT ANYWAY. I'm not proud of it but I also don't see a way to stop thinking like that. What do you do? If you've found ways to think less judgmentally, please share.
It sounds to me like you're describing fleeting thoughts. We all have nasty, bigoted, shameful fleeting thoughts about EVERYTHING, not just weight. They come and go, like the clouds, and don't mean very much if we balance them with kinder thoughts and behaviours. I don't feel guilty about such thoughts. I just accept them as part of being human, and then -- really and truly -- get on with my workout.


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Old 04-15-2013, 09:17 AM   #10
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My experience is somewhat different from yours, Neurodoc.

I am far harder on myself than I am on anyone else I see. I am like a mean girl in a black comedy when I face myself in the gym mirrors after having a weigh-in that reports a five-pound gain. But when I see other people in the gym, I think, "That was me once. Good for her." Maybe the difference is, I was them once, I'm not just an observer. I was once 257 pounds. I spent over a decade climbing to that weight gradually year after year. And I didn't lose it overnight. When I first made my effort to lose that weight, I was afraid to set foot in a gym. I walked around outside in all kinds of weather, in dark, in sometimes unsafe circumstances, because I was more afraid of being judged adversely than my physical safety. Which is stupid. So those people are **better** than me, if anything. Braver, psychologically stronger. See, this I know: There are some heavier women who have greater peace of mind and self-acceptance than I may ever achieve. Despite my weight loss, which -- so society tells me -- ought to have left me more self-confident and in a better place. No, it didn't. Like that Sheryl Crow song, "If it makes you happy, then why the he!! are you so sad?"

When I see fat people, my mind goes to what I want to call my "writerly" place, where my empathic faculties reside. I tell myself a story about them. "She's coping with late or nonexistent child support payments ... she's got a mother who needs her car keys taken away ... and an autistic child ... maybe she comforts herself with a trip to McDonald's ... she owes back taxes ... she's got thyroid issues ... she's the kindest person you've ever met ... she adores her three cats, one of which needs insulin shots ... She was, until last week, afraid to leave her car at her son's soccer game because she felt she was too fat to be seen ..." I have an endless supply of stories, some from my own experience, some from the boards here. I imagine these people are the exact same people who are posting on the boards here. And I care a lot for the people posting on the boards here. Not just for individuals, but in the abstract. Poor humanity, and all the pain we all carry inside us.

Quote:
The fact is, most of us on this thread would rather lose an eye or a job than regain the weight we've worked so hard to lose (and keep off)
I wouldn't want to lose an eye. The job is negotiable. I like my job, and it's part of my identity, but it's not my whole identity. If I lost it, I'd have to change the way I live, and spend money, and my pride would hurt horribly, but I think I could get by. I have survived through some boring and tedious jobs, like filing medical records in the basement of a hospital all day long, pushing a shopping cart full of them around. I would piece together some kind of life somehow.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:21 AM   #11
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It sounds to me like you're describing fleeting thoughts. /snip/They come and go, like the clouds, and don't mean very much if we balance them with kinder thoughts and behaviours.
Freelance, I do like this. I think I push fleeting thoughts aside, most of the time. One reason for this is that I cannot multi-task and they would get in the way of what I'm trying to do.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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When I see fat people, my mind goes to what I want to call my "writerly" place, where my empathic faculties reside. I tell myself a story about them.
From one writer to another: your stories brought tears to my eyes.

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Old 04-15-2013, 09:36 AM   #13
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From one writer to another: your stories brought tears to my eyes.

F.
These boards will bring tears to your eyes. People come here and tell their stories. They're honest. It's like a confessional. There is so much pain over self-image and being physically uncomfortable or inept, or feeling judged, it makes my chest hurt sometimes. When I see fat people in public, and I don't know their thoughts or can't hear them talking, it's the opposite of being on these boards, where I can hear their voices but I can't see them. Maybe that's why I'm matching them up in real life, when of course, they are not the same individuals. Not at all: I'm not crazy enough to believe that. But the sentiments, the life experience and the pain have to be pretty much the same.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:45 AM   #14
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Well, I'm not a maintainer, but I have thoughts on this!

I think "some people" are judgmental type people. They judge everyone for everything and they assume everyone is judging their every move too as well, if you judge, then others must too. My mother in law is like this. She judges and comments on anything and everything. I find it appalling and find her extremely superficial. We basically have nothing in common - not a single thing and of that I'm glad.

But, am I capable of being judgmental? Sure I am. Especially when I see parents ignoring and being mean to their children. I can 'go there' at times and I'm not happy about it.


But not about weight. And honestly, I don't know how how ANYONE who has been overweight before could be judgmental of another overweight person. We all got fat somehow. We let ourselves get there and it took something for us to lose the weight and we had to be ready to lose the weight to do it. So, how can I look at someone who is not yet ready to lose the weight and judge them when I was there at one point too? In this case, it's easy for me to see both sides of the story - thinner and heavier. It's not so in some other cases. Sometimes it's harder for me to understand behavior, so it's easier for me to judge and perhaps unfairly.

When it comes to kids being overweight - that one is so tough. First, no comments should be made by an outsider, ever. Like EVER. You simply do not know their story and saying something could be dangerous.

But from my own experiences and from hearing other people's experiences, you are darned if you do and darned if you don't say or do something to intervene as a parent. My mom was slightly chubby as a teen and her mom said nothing about it. She never forgave her mom for not saying something to maybe make her do something about her weight. So, when I was a teen and gained a little weight, my mom said something to me, it just made me feel worse.

I have two kids (boys). One is rail thin. He is 16.5 years old and 6'2" and 140 pounds. The other is almost 8 and 56" tall and 85 pounds. He is big and strong, but has a TINY bit of a poochy stomach. He tends to chub up a bit.

The approach I have taken with BOTH my kids is to try to be active and to move and to eat good meals. To me, it's not so much about the ice cream and the cookies. It's developing a taste for vegetables and lean proteins and knowing that movement is a way of life - any movement. It's teaching portions, etc. But in the end, even as a parent, it's really hard to control a child's tendencies of being too thin, just right or too heavy. It isn't simple.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:55 AM   #15
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I'm very judgmental but I keep it to myself. I imagine others judging me all the time, but I don't get paranoid about it.

One thing that I've always enjoyed is people watching. Kind of like the "People of Walmart" website where you just wonder what people have in mind when they wear a particular outfit, YKWIM?

I believe that people that cannot withhold verbal judgement, especially to strangers, is a kind of mental illness (this is in response to what Dagmar experienced, NOT the kind of parental-like guidance that Silver was trying to envoke).

I am extremely envious of you saef~being able to be so empathetic. I think my MIL is like that (although she can judge with the best of us). I don't know if it comes from her running a retirement home for many, many years, but she seems to exude empathy and just that makes people really open up to her. Maybe I'm a little to closed off because no one opens up to me like they do to her. Even my parents were more likely to open up to her than to me (something that I felt was a little weird when it happened).
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